Thirty Theses on Light Pollution, 2017

(I) Light Pollution is pollution.

(II) Light Pollution is among the least-understood and least-recognized forms of pollution.

(III) Most people do not know what Light Pollution is.

(IV) Light Pollution distorts the Earth’s natural night sky.

(V) Light Pollution’s distortion on the Earth’s night sky, by extension, distorts the Earth’s natural environments.

(VI) Science has accumulated sparse evidence of the environmental impacts of Light Pollution.

(VII) The accumulated scientific evidence to-date is insufficient to awaken the general population to the existence of Light Pollution and its impact on Earth’s environments.

(VIII) Light Pollution is a recent phenomenon in human history.

(IX) Light Pollution is artificial.

(X) Moonlight is not Light Pollution, but part of the Earth’s natural environment that evolved over billions of years.

(XI) Humans and most non-nocturnal animals have difficulty sleeping under artificial light, preferring the dark of night.

(XII) Light Pollution directly inhibits terrestrial stargazing and other astronomical pursuits.

(XIII) Light Pollution lessens children’s curiosity about the night sky, stunting their desire to learn and imagine.

(XIV) Light Pollution severs mankind’s prime connection for wondering about the cosmos.

(XV) The intended direction of nearly all artificial night lighting is down.

(XVI) Most artificial light illuminates in all directions (down, up, sides).

(XVII) Artificial light that illuminates outside of its intended range wastes energy.

(XVIII) Artificial light that illuminates outside of its intended range may be an encroachment onto surrounding lands and properties.

(XIX) Light Pollution is caused by artificial illumination of the night sky.

(XX) Light Pollution will never be eliminated completely from civilized locations, but it can be greatly mitigated.

(XXI) Light Pollution can be reduced with no impact to quality of life and security.

(XXII) Light Pollution can be significantly reduced by shielding all outdoor lighting to focus illumination on the intended ground target.

(XXIII) Shielded lights make nighttime visibility easier by reducing harsh bulb glare.

(XXIV) Light Pollution can be significantly reduced through the use of timers and motion sensors.

(XXV) All commercial and home decorative lighting should point downward with bulbs or diodes shielded on their sides.

(XXVI) Most Light Pollution comes from street lights.

(XXVII) Newer LED lights contribute far more to Light Pollution than the older, traditional sodium streetlamps.  This is because newer LED diodes blast light across almost the entire visible light spectrum, whereas the older sodium lamps emitted light at a very narrow yellow band within the visible spectrum.

(XXVIII) Newer LED lights are OK for outdoors but should be low-intensity, shielded, and ideally triggered by motion sensors.

(XXIX) Blue light is the worst light for outdoors because the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs blue spectrum light the easiest.  Think of the daytime blue sky!

(XXX) Images from space of the Earth’s ground illuminated at night were once evidence of progress, but now should be viewed as evidence of our collective ignorance about Light Pollution and not understanding how to lessen its impacts on the Earth’s environments.

I don’t normally concluded my posts with “please share/retweet/reblog/etc.” requests, but if you feel better informed of and aware on the topic of light pollution, please forward this to your friends and neighbors.  Spreading knowledge about light pollution is the best strategy for eventually solving the problem!

17 thoughts on “Thirty Theses on Light Pollution, 2017

      • I hope you’re right. I spoke with a couple of people from local government recently who said it’s all about costs, not surprisingly. Until the awareness and societal pressure catche up with the cost, I’m not feeling very optimistic. Still, there is more awareness growing all the time. I hope you’re right.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. It’s sort of depressing to me that people today seem to be less interesting in or aware of the stars and planets than they were a hundred years ago. We live in the space age now. It should be the other way around.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m guessing there are a variety of reasons for this, one being that a lot of the mystery of space is now gone, at least from our backyards. Light pollution is a big contributor to this unfortunate situation.

      But also, in many ways the age of space is over – that was the 50s, 60s, then started to wane at the end of the Apollo missions. It had a brief uptick with the Space Shuttles, Hubble, and all our voyagers and rovers. But even all the robotic planetary landers are passe now to the public.

      At the height of the recent Juno mission, how many looked up at night towards bright Jupiter, and really wondered? Did anyone look through a telescope and, even knowing it impossible, have a small degree of hope in seeing our explorer orbiting the planet?

      Liked by 2 people

      • People did seem to take note when the Cassini mission came to an end, but for the most part I think you’re right about the robotic missions. We’ve had so many of them. They seem kind of routine now.

        But I think my point was simply that light pollution has taken the stars away from people. Long ago, almost everyone knew the constellations and the planets because everyone could just look up and see them. Today, that’s no longer true.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Just Stargazing | Aperture Astronomy

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